Conquer Dentophobia this New Year

2 January 2022

Categories: Dental Care

It’s a new year and one tradition about greeting a new year is to set personal resolutions to help you make the best out of the year ahead.

If you’re preparing your resolutions list for 2022, we have a suggestion to add – schedule and attend your routine dental checkups!

Having your teeth checked by the dentist every 6 months protects your oral health but what happens if just the thought of heading to the dentist raises your anxiety levels?

Dentophobia is a real matter. It is described as the fear of the dentist and it can have a serious effect on your oral health as it prevents you from receiving necessary dental intervention.

The good news is that, you are not alone and it’s never too late to take charge of your dental health and overcome dentophobia this New Year.

Dentophobia: In various forms

There are various forms of dental fear. They include:

  • The dentist – You’ll feel frightened of the person treating your teeth or the idea of the person. There is a higher chance of developing this type of dentophobia if you’ve previously had a bitter experience with a dentist.
  • The clinic environment – Some individuals with dentophobia do not like the sight, sound and smell of the dental practice. It’ll trigger fear and this usually prevents a person from stepping into a dental clinic.
  • Pain – Many are sensitive to mouth pain and are afraid of the possible pain during dental treatment.
  • Needles – For individuals afraid of the needle such as an injection, this might also lead to the fear of the dentist.
  • Gagging – As some dental treatments require you to hold your mouth open for a longer period of time, some patients might be scared that they will struggle to breathe during the procedure.

What does dentophobia look like?

Fear is a natural human response that is triggered when the brain senses a possible threat. In the case of dentophobia, individuals tend to avoid or show signs of discomfort at the thought of or when visiting the dentist. Some common signs of dentophobia are:

  • Avoiding the dentist due to fear.
  • Refusing dental treatments.
  • Panicking at the thought of having to visit the dentist.
  • In more severe cases, a person could be trembling or vomiting.

From resolution to reality

What’s a New Year’s resolution if it’s only a thought? This year, let’s conquer your fear, and make it your resolution to schedule for that long-overdue appointment. Here’s how you can make it happen:

#1 Find the right dentist

Your dentist should be your greatest ally and not your ‘enemy’. Truth to be told, your dentist’s intentions are genuine, which is to help you have healthy teeth and not hurt you. However, we understand that fear may arise especially when it is a fear of the unknown such as “What will happen during the procedure?”, “Will it be painful?” or “What if I start feeling uncomfortable?”

Finding the right dentist that understands your fear can make a tremendous difference to your experience, despite having dentophobia. A dentist who is qualified, patient, caring and is able to communicate openly should be some of the attributes to look for. Knowing that your dentist cares for you will give you better assurance and ultimately build your trust. This will help to ease your nerves.

#2 There are solutions to help you cope

If pain during a dental procedure is your concern, speak to your dentist about pain management options to give you a painless and comfortable experience. i.Dental offers a variety of pain management options to cater to the various needs of our patients such as:

  • Local anaesthetic – Used for smaller procedures, local anaesthetic is injected into the surgical site to give you a painless experience.
  • IV sedation – For major dental surgeries and for nervous patients, this option involves an anaesthetist who will administer the anaesthesia intravenously.
  • Topical anaesthetic – Prior to administering an injection, your dentist may apply a gel that will numb the specific area of your mouth.

There are also dental treatments that could improve your experience at the dentist and address your fears without compromising on your dental health.

Laser-assisted dental treatments, for example, help to reduce post-operative pain. Hence, giving you a more pleasant dental experience. Another useful tool that your dentist may offer is dental monitoring. Dental monitoring allows your dentist to monitor your teeth virtually. This tool does not replace the role of your dentist but can reduce the number of trips to the dentist such as throughout your Invisalign treatment. Especially if your dentophobia is triggered by the sight, sound and smell of the clinic, this option could be helpful.

#3 Stay calm

Learning effective ways to reduce the feeling of nervousness and fear can help you to have a better experience at the dentist. Here are some useful tips:

  • Schedule your appointment during off-peak hours so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Listen to music that will help you stay calm while waiting for your turn.
  • Have a friend accompany you for moral support.

Your oral health is an important aspect of your overall well-being. As a new year begins, take your first step and work towards achieving your New Year’s resolution by making visits to the dentist. Our team of dentists is always ready to accommodate your needs, and to create a safe and comfortable environment for you. Visit i.Dental clinics today.

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